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Old 03-13-2002, 05:49 AM   #31
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

I understand your point (and SeanAlexander's), but I think it depends on the rider. Someone who's mature enough to ride within their limits (whether newbie or not) and manage risk is no more dangerous on a CBR600F4i than on a VTR250. A VTR250 can go plenty fast/quick enough to kill you (I know, my wife had one as her first bike, and I rode it many times), and 600 supersport can go plenty slow enough to be safe.

I'd have no problems suggesting a 600 supersport to a responsible newbie. It's a *good* thing that the bike is more capable then their skills. I certainly wouldn't want to burden a newbie with having to compensate for a bike's shortcomings unnecessarily. If you're riding at your limit, you're not holding back. If you're riding at your bike's limit, then you're holding back.

But, more importantly, we shouldn't be trying to shove anything down a newbie's throat. Don't tell them they're wrong to choose a certain bike. Explain the situation, including the pros (better brakes, excellent throttle response, better tires, etc) and the cons (deceptively fast, prone to wheelying or breaking traction at the rear wheel, etc) and let them decide for themselves.

P.S. The VTR250 was a fun bike, especially in super-tight twisties, but no way could my knees take that riding position for more than 15 minutes. Made a believer out of me that "light is right" when it comes to bikes, though.
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Old 03-13-2002, 05:54 AM   #32
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

A lobooks list like Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist Series, Kevin Cameron's Motorcycle Performance Handbook, the Haynes Motorcycle Basics Manual, the MSF Skills Guide, David Hough's Proficient Motorcycling and Street Strategies.

A lot of the information is already out there. A lot of the riders just don't know it.
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Old 03-13-2002, 05:54 AM   #33
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Default How far can you really see?

Something that we all forget- how far can you really see? The MSF class notes that you should be aware of things that are about 12 seconds away. Ever count out 12 seconds on the freeway? The other end of that 12 seconds is often invisible! Riding on city streets or on twisty roads limits your vision severely. This makes it even more critical to look "through" obstacles and anticipate what might happen on the other side.

I would urge everyone to count the two second following distance for a while until you have a good feeling for how close you are to things. This is not a sermon about tailgating, it is a suggestion that even experienced riders don't necessarily have an intuitive feel for their position in traffic.

Then count the 12 second distance for a while to find out what you can really see. It is an enlightening exercise and really gives a sense of what you can and cannot see. Remember- if you can't see them, they probably can't see you!
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Old 03-13-2002, 05:56 AM   #34
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

Sheesh, they're bleeping p-e-t-c-o-c-k now?

MO, you need to set up an "exceptions" list in your censoring engine...
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Old 03-13-2002, 06:32 AM   #35
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

I would also like to second (third? fourth?) the suggestion that starting out on a dirt bike is a pretty doggone good idea. Especially a low-cost used one as you will not feel nearly as bad about crashing it numerous times. Dirt bikes are an effective, relatively inexpensive riding skills feedback tool that you will spend a lifetime learning from. And you will own two motorcycles! What's not to like?

I would also suggest, especially to young guys, that you avoid riding in groups for at least a few months after acquiring your first street bike, especially in groups with your buddies. There can be enormous peer pressure in group rides to press beyond one's limits. It is unfortunately not such an infrequent occurence that a new rider gets thumped trying to hang with their buds.

Buy good stuff. Don't buy someone's used 10 year old helmet. Not only will it smell bad but it will likely not provide optimum protection in a crash. Get a new helmet from a top-shelf manufacturer and make sure that it is fitted correctly. Get a good leather or synthetic jacket with some armor and make sure that it fits correctly. Spend some money on a good pair of gloves too. Boots are a oft neglected but very necessary acquisition, IMHO. Buy once, cry once.

Get a decent bike and then either learn how to maintain it or pay someone to do it for you. The consequences of a mechanical failure at speed early in your riding career are just too awful to even consider.

Don't try to be the cool guy by being the fast guy. There is no natural law that I am aware of that says cool = fast. I like to ride with people who are smart, funny and fun traveling companions. I don't give a damn how fast they are on the street. I suspect this is a fairly universal sentiment among long term riders. If you want be cool by being fast go to the track and learn to race. Then are you in for a treat. Humiliations galore.

Cheers and good luck!

Martin @ 100,000+ miles and counting.
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Old 03-13-2002, 06:48 AM   #36
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Default Geez, Look at these posts.

These are great posts. There looks like there is a thousand years of experience up there. Blip and company have been talking for a year about how going to subscription is improving the quality of the MO community, and this topic really seems to prove that.

Back to the topic, I agree with everything that's been said. I think the real value of this idea is to establish a forum for new riders to hear a lot of different opinions, on the major themes. I think the major themes that can be distilled from the above discussion might include: Training, Bike selection, Protective Gear, Riding tips & advice, Maintenance. Maybe also one for Insurance/Financing?

One aspect I would add that applies to all themes is for riders to think for themselves and not choose a bike, gear or riding style as a fashion statement.

I also wonder if the Motorcycle Safety Foundation might want to participate in some way. At least links to basic riders course information, and maybe contribute a monthly column, or something.
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Old 03-13-2002, 06:50 AM   #37
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

Gear! Definitely! Excellent point about the cost of helmets. I personally use the 'plain-white' version of whatever company I choose to buy a helmet from for two reasons: 1) solids tend to be cheaper than 'customs' while protecting the same amount. 2) I personally think that a plain white helmet is more visible. I've read Day-glo Orange is best, but just in my own little informal tests of observation while riding, I notice the white helmets more.. maybe b/c I own one though.. hmmm.


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Old 03-13-2002, 07:20 AM   #38
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

All good points. I miss activebike a lot, and if MO could get similiarly well-written, thoughtful essays that would be fantastic.

The activebike series on "The Final Analysis" (accident post mortem (no pun, some of them were, literally)) was also though-provoking, if a little depressing at times.
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Old 03-13-2002, 08:06 AM   #39
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Default Tips for New Riders

1. The front brake is your friend.

2. You are invisible to everyone except cops.

3. Ride first, drink afterwards.

4. Practice your countersteering.

5. No one looks cool with a head injury.

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Old 03-13-2002, 09:39 AM   #40
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Default Re: New Riders section at MO

Your point on decreasing radius turns is a good one. Ive been bitten a few times on new roads. Take your time and learn a road before you go blasting through, or even what seems to be blasting. Also you need to trust your tires, when first starting out leaning over even a slight amount past top dead center seems like a mile. Sometimes you find yourself just having to keep leaning and leaning to get your butt home in one piece. Where hitting the brakes instead would of spit you right over a guard rail... Best advice would be not to get into these situations in the first place. But better judgement doesnt always win out. So in those situations you need to trust in your machine, even a 50cc scooter has more cabilities than many Newbies. For situations like mentioned above I highly recommend Keith Code's "twist of the wrist II" Surpressing your "SR's" or "survival reactions" will get you home safe is many sticky situations. Surpressing that urge to hammer the brakes instead of just simplying leaning in more and completing the turn.


Decreasing Radius Turn: A turn that is tighter at the end than the beginning. Most often blind turns that are hidden from view by a mountain side or flora. You'll come into a nice gradual turn only midway through discover that the end of the turn is a hairpin.

***Disclaimer: Author can not spell ***
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